Morphology of asteroid (4179) Toutatis as imaged by Chang'E-2 spacecraft

Meng Hua Zhu, Wenzhe Fa, Wing Huen Ip, Jiangchuan Huang, Tiantian Liu, Linzhi Meng, Jun Yan, Aoao Xu, Zesheng Tang, Xiaolei Wang, Dong Qiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Close observations by the Chang'E-2 spacecraft reveal that the surface of asteroid (4179) Toutatis is characterized by abundant impact craters with most of them being degraded by surface resetting. The less degraded large crater with a diameter of ∼800 m at the south pole is estimated to be produced by an impactor with a diameter of ∼50 m from strength crater scaling relations. From the analysis of large-impact events on highly porous targets, we argue that Toutatis is likely a rubble-pile body and its two lobes are contact binaries. The fact that Toutatis suffered plenty of impacts with seismic shaking resetting the initial surface features but not resulting in catastrophic disruption is probably because of the material's high attenuation of shock wave.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-333
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2014


  • Asteroid (4179) Toutatis
  • Chang'E-2 Spacecraft
  • Contact-Binary Asteroid
  • Rubble-Pile Asteroid


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